EIT:n suuri jaosto otti tutkittavakseen Vuoristo-Karabahin sotaan liittyviä tapauksia sekä Armeniaan että Azerbaidzaniin kohdistuvien valitusten osalta
Euroopan ihmisoikeustuomioistuimen (EIT) suuri jaosto on joulukuussa päättänyt ottaa tutkittavakseen pääosan kahdesta valituksesta, joista toinen on kohdistettu Armeniaa ja toinen Azerbaidzania kohtaan. Kyse valituksissa on Vuoristo-Karabahin tapahtumista 1990-luvun alussa.EIT:n lehdistötiedotteista:
Territorial jurisdiction and responsibility of Azerbaijan
The Court noted that Azerbaijan had ratified the Convention with effect throughout its territory. However, it had made a declaration at the time of ratifying the Convention to the effect that it was unable to guarantee the application of the Convention in the territories occupied by the Republic of Armenia.
The Court found that the declaration was not capable of restricting the territorial application of the Convention to only certain parts of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognised territory. In addition, it examined whether that declaration could be considered a reservation. It then noted that the Convention did not allow “reservations of a general character”, namely those that did not refer to a specific Convention provision or were worded in a way that their scope could not be defined. Consequently, the declaration was invalid, as it could not be considered a reservation complying with the Convention requirements.
The Court therefore dismissed the Government’s objection as far as it was based on the declaration.
The Court also noted that it was in dispute between the parties whether the Government of Azerbaijan had effective control over the area concerned. The Government contested this and argued that, consequently, their responsibility under Article 1 of the Convention was not engaged. The applicant and the Armenian Government, intervening as a third party, asserted that Gulistan was under the effective control of Azerbaijan.
The Court joined the Government’s objection that it lacked jurisdiction and did not have responsibility unter Article 1 of the Convention to its examination of the merits of the case, as it found that it did not have sufficient information to be able to decide on that question at the admissibility stage.
Territorial jurisdiction and responsibility of Armenia
The Court noted that it was in dispute between the parties whether the Government of Armenia had effective control over the area concerned. The Government contested this and argued that, consequently, their responsibility under Article 1 of the Convention was not engaged. The applicants and the Azerbaijani Government, intervening as a third party, asserted that the district of Lachin was under the effective control of Armenia.
The Court joined the Government’s objection that it lacked jurisdiction and did not have responsibility under Article 1 of the Convention to its examination of the merits of the case, as it found that it did not have sufficient information to be able to decide on that question at the admissibility stage.
Compliance with the six-month rule
The Court reiterated its case-law concerning the application of the six-month rule in respect of continuing situations. It noted that it had qualified its previous case-law in disappearance cases by imposing a duty of diligence and initiative on applicants.
Notwithstanding important differences between cases concerning the continued failure to investigate disappearances and cases like today’s case, concerning continuing denial of access to property and home, the Court found that general considerations of legal certainty were of relevance in both. It also had regard to the particular features of cases concerning complaints about continuing violations in a complex post-conflict situation. It therefore found in the context of today’s case that once an applicant had become aware that there was no realistic hope of regaining access to their property and home in the foreseeable future, unexplained or excessive delay in lodging the application might lead to rejection of the application as out-of-time. There were no specific time-frames which could be applied.
Armenia ratified the Convention on 26 April 2002. Therefore, that had been the earliest time when the applicants could have applied to the Court. When joining the Council of Europe and ratifying the Convention, both Armenia and Azerbaijan had made a joint undertaking to seek a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. A period of intensified negotiation had followed. The applicants could, for some time, have reasonably expected that a solution to the conflict would be found.
In the circumstances, the Court concluded that by applying to the Court on 6 April 2005, that was about three years after the ratification of the Convention by Armenia, the applicants had acted without undue delay.
Consequently, the Court dismissed the Government’s objection that the applicants’ complaints about their continued lack of access to their property and homes had been submitted out of time.
1. Grand Chamber Admissibility Decision Chiragov and Others v. Armenia 09.01.12
2. Grand Chamber admissibility decision Sargsyan v. Azerbaijan 09.01.12
Lehdistötiedotteissa on myös linkit koko tutkittavaksi ottamista koskeviin päätöksiin.